Cheltenham Day 2 Tips: Tony Calvin's quintet of selections for day two of the Festival
The Champion Chase is the big race on day two of the Fetival and Tony Calvin has two each-way bets in that race along with a further three wagers on the afternoon...
"He has a very good chance on the clock, is obviously very lightly-raced and this race often falls to a precocious ex-French type. He will do for me at the price in what is clearly a hugely competitive handicap."
Chance the outsider in day two opener
Once more unto the breach my friends, once more, and it is sincerely hoped that Seddon makes a lot of people unhappy by winning the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at 13:30.
Because my money is going on what was the rank outsider in some lists early on Tuesday afternoon - and still is, in fact - at [70.0] or bigger on the exchange.
At the top of the market, I would be more concerned by the unbeaten Battleoverdoyen than Champ, and I also have a lot of time for City Island and Sams Profile.
However, I liked the look of two outsiders in here, and Seddon got the nod over Bright Forecast. The problem with Seddon is that he is often far too keen for his own good, and that was the case here in the bumper last year when he absolutely tanked through the race, only to find little at the business end of the contest.
That freshness didn't stop him winning on his hurdling debut at Stratford in November - he did remarkably well there to beat a decent horse in Not That Fuisse that day, after pulling early doors - but it has counted against him in three subsequent defeats.
So the onus will be on new jockey Noel Fehily to get him settled and racing on an even keel here. If he does then I think the horse will make huge strides forward.
This big field, and the prospect of a strong pace, promises to bring out the best in him and the soft ground shouldn't be any concern. And his pedigree suggests the step up to 2m5f will suit, as well.
Connections have always thought the world of him, and he strikes me as a horse that will run a clear career-best here if proving a shade more tractable. He needs to, but his price belies his raw talent.
Front two in the market likely to fight out the RSA
I have a lot of time for the market leaders Delta Work and Topofthegame in the RSA at 14:10 and that makes the race pretty difficult to play in.
It could be that last year's Pertemps winner Delta Work is the more here-and-now finished article of a chaser than the huge and rawer (is that a word?) Topofthegame, but the latter's second to the mare La Bague Au Roi at Kempton hinted at top-level ability down the line.
I suspect that the pair will be the first two home, especially with the troubled run-up Santini has had (if he runs, that is), but I am not sold on what will be the exact order.
Of the rest, you can make each-way claims for a few at a price, notably Mortal who has been locking horns with Delta Work and could be well served by 3m on soft ground, but it dampens the enthusiasm for a win and place punt when you think the top two spots are already filled. So let's move on.
Two to play in the Coral Cup
Two leapt straight out at me at the prices in the Coral Cup at 14:50 and Highest Sun is my main fancy at 20/1 each way, five places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.
It's a fairly simple and straightforward case for him.
He has run well on all four starts since coming over from France (where he won his last two outings), with the pick of his efforts for me a fourth in the good handicap won by Al Dancer here in December and obviously his Chepstow win over 2m last month.
He went up 8b for that win, which on the face of it is plenty enough, but he did win very convincingly there and he shapes as though this, admittedly major, step up to 2m5f could well suit.
He has done all his racing in this country on a decent surface, but he won on deep ground in France, so fingers crossed after Tuesday's rain.
William Henry should also be backed at 33/1 each way, five places, with the Sportsbook, even though he has a far less solid profile than Highest Sun coming into the race, having not been seen since pulled up on his reappearance at Wincanton on Boxing Day. He is the lesser of the two bets, for sure, so stake accordingly.
But he has had a wind op since - Henderson has a great record when using this option - and he was also dropped 2lb for that Wincanton run, which puts him on the same mark as when a 2¾ length fourth in this race last season.
Added to that, his record after a short break of three months or less makes for very encouraging reading. Indeed, his form figures in that scenario read: 1114, the fourth coming in this race last year, just 60 days after his Lanzarote win on soft ground.
I gather the vibes for him aren't over-strong but, yeah, I think the 33s is worth risking, all right.
Pointless taking on Altior so let's play in the 'without favourite' market
Altior's presence in the Champion Chase at 15:30 means that I have to look towards the "without favourite" market for bets in the race.
In fact, I have already backed God's Own and Ordinary World ante-post on this line and, in the hope that conditions dry out a bit from hereon in - and Tuesday's rain has to worry you if you take the following advice - I am putting up the pair at 20/1 each way here. They are the outsiders on the market, but both have far better chances than those quotes suggest, even if I will be reining back on the stakes a bit now.
The case for both gets stronger the less rain there is and the more it dries, and I really do like their chances of finishing in the first four (presumably behind Altior) at these prices.
God's Own's Haldon Gold Cup win off 156 and his second in the Peterborough Chase under a 6lb penalty were very smart efforts, and you can guarantee that he will be ridden with an eye to the placings, just as he was when finishing no worse than fifth in this race for the past four seasons (form figures of 2453).
Ordinary World comes into this race on the back of some good placed efforts in Grade 1 company in Ireland - splitting Min and Saint Calvados in the Dublin Chase last time - but he clearly needs to raise his game to get into the frame here.
But he has always struck me as a horse with more to come - though he is leaving it late as a 9yo, granted - and it is worth remembering that he finished third to Altior in an Arkle and he traded at [5.1] in the run in this race last year, when looking dangerous coming round the final bend, before weakening up the straight.
Hopefully, the ground won't ride as testing as it did there and he does come into this Festival in far better form than he did last year.
Min is the obvious short-priced favourite on this line, and he will be the natural each-way punting vehicle in the normal main market for those who think Altior may finally have an off-day.
I'm a big Fanfan of Seuil in the Fred Winter
Sorry, to be a predictable kill-joy but I don't bet in bumpers or Cross Country races - they have never been my cup of tea, on the grounds that the former is too much of a guess-up, given the lightly-raced nature of the participants, and I rarely even watch the latter event, though I expect Tiger Roll to win again - so that just leaves the Fred Winter at 16:50.
Lethal Steps appeals most from those at the top of the market but Fanfan Du Seuil interests me most at [21.0] or bigger.
We haven't seen him since he finished second here in December, which either means he has had an issue or two or that connections were happy with his mark and didn't want to risk it further.
Hopefully, it is the latter.
He won his only start in France on soft ground and posted two good efforts after a fall at Chepstow, beating the next-time-out Newbury winner Our Power easily and then finishing second here in December.
He got to the front too soon that day - he traded at [1.3] in running - so expect him to be produced as late as possible here.
He has a very good chance on the clock, is obviously very lightly-raced and this race often falls to a precocious ex-French type, who tend to revel in testing conditions. He will do for me at the price in what is clearly a hugely competitive handicap.
Back Seddon at [70.0] or bigger in 13:30
Back Highest Sun each way, five places, at 20/1 in 14:50
Back William Henry each way, five places, at 33/1 in 14:50
Back God's Own at 20/1 each way in without favourite market in 15:30
Back Ordinary World at 20/1 each way in without favourite market in 15:30
Back Fanfan Du Seuil at [21.0] or bigger in 16:50